Utrecht is a definite highlight of Holland if you ask me. Less touristy than Amsterdam but very much alive and just as pretty! Get yourself around on foot, by bicycle or by boat. Explore the city’s lively center and the beautiful unspoiled surroundings of Utrecht. There is a lot to see and do and I have no doubt that you will love it!
1. Climb the Dom Tower
The gothic-style Dom Tower, located in the heart of Utrecht, is truly iconic to the beautiful, historical town of Holland. It is also the highest church tower in all of Holland, rising 112 meters (367.5 feet), into the air. It’s impossible to miss, as it is visible from so many places in the center. Originally, the Dom Tower was part of the never-finished Saint Martin Cathedral, built between 1321 and 1382. The tower became freestanding when the church collapsed in 1674. The Dom Tower is located in Dom Square, the place where the city of Utrecht originated, 2000 years ago. You can take a guided one-hour tour, learn all about the tower’s history and climb the 465 steps to the top. The city view from up there is truly inspiring!
Address: Domplein 21, 3512 JC Utrecht, Netherlands
Website: Dom Toren
2. Canal boat ride
Superleuke review van de event planners die tijdens de @locatietour met onze sloepen #Utrecht vanaf een andere kant leerden kennen: "Via de achterkant van de Fundatie varen we via de elektrisch aangedreven fluisterbootjes van Greenjoy (de Greenwheels van het water): zelfsturend, zonder schipper of stuurman, naar een volgende ligplek. Ondertussen genieten we van de zon en de rust die je op een maandag kunt ervaren in hartje stad. Je hoort alleen het geluid van vogeltjes. Boven ons de strakblauwe lucht, verder kabbelend water en een snelheid van een halve knoop. Herenhuizen, beuken en eiken. De vaartocht is snel, ontspannend en fun: je ziet en beleeft de stad op een andere manier." Lees de hele review hier: https://www.events.nl/nieuws/van-de-rechtbank-de-lik-locatietour-belicht-bijzondere-locaties-van-utrecht
The most idyllic way to see the city of Utrecht, with all of its ancient canals and wharf cellars, is by boat! Do it the Dutch way: bring a picnic basket full of sandwiches and snacks along with a bottle of wine, your travel companions and enjoy the good life! Doing this, you will get a good feel of how Dutch people like to spend their summers.
Greenjoy - Rent a Boat
Address: Wittevrouwensingel 58
3. Utrecht Botanical Gardens
Surround yourself with Holland’s beautiful, unspoiled nature at Utrecht’s Botanical Gardens, located at the city’s university. Within the university’s Science Park, there are six gardens, each with their own character. You can spend hours here, enjoying the peaceful ambiance and admiring over 1000 species of plants. The on-site Rock Garden is one of the largest in all of Europe. You will love it!
Botanical Gardens Utrecht
Address: Budapestlaan 17, 3584 HD Utrecht, Netherlands
Website: Botanical Gardens Utrecht
4. Visit Wilhelmina Park
There is nothing as wonderful and relaxing than hanging around in a city park on a sunny day. Bring a picnic blanket, some drinks and snacks and simply enjoy the peaceful, typical Dutch scenery. Wilhelmina is a beautiful city park, located in the center of Utrecht. It doesn’t get greener than this!
Address: 3581 Utrecht, Netherlands
Website: Wilhelmina Park (in Dutch)
5. Smell the roses at the flowermarket
A trip to Holland is not complete without visiting a Dutch flower market. At Janskerkhof, in the center of Utrecht, you will be blown away by the sea of scents and colors, especially on Saturdays. Want to plant some tulips in your own garden, back home? Buy some of the tulip bulbs and try.
Address: 3512 BK Utrecht, Netherlands
6. Go cycling like the Dutch do
You will see them everywhere and nearly one for every human: bicycles. No wonder the Dutch are famous for them! There is no better way to explore the city of Utrecht and its surroundings, than by bicycle. Ride up and over the canals, through the hustle and bustle of the city center and around to see the beautiful countryside. It is quite a wonderful ride and a great way to sniff up some culture and experience life as a Dutch person.
7. DOMunder - 200 years of Utrecht history
A whole different world awaits you, beneath Dom Square, in the center of Utrecht. With DOMunder, you literally go underground and learn all about the city’s history, going back 200 years to medieval and Roman times. With a flashlight as your best friend, you will explore the world beneath the surface, where you get to admire archaeological finds and hear exciting stories of the past. Fun and interesting for young and old!
Address: Domplein 4, 3512 JC Utrecht, Netherlands
8. Fairy tale dreams come true at Castle de Haar
The biggest castle in all the Netherlands is located near the center of Utrecht and therefore, it is not to be missed! Surrounded by endless manicured lawns, planted with colorful flowers on one side and a peaceful lake on the other, Castle de Haar truly looks like a fairy tale castle, straight out of a children’s book or a Disney movie. The castle was built between 1892 and 1912, with the incorporation of the original castle’s ruins which date back to the 15th century. Inside, you can admire lots of beautiful antiques from all over the world. A must-see!
Castle de Haar
Address: Kasteellaan 1 3455 RR Haarzuilens, Netherlands
Website: Castle de Haar
9. Go shopping
Of course, the city center of Utrecht is home to endless shopping boutiques and fashion stores. It makes a wonderful day just to walk around, do some shopping, have a coffee, enjoy a yummy lunch at one of the charming cafés and do some more shopping. On top of that, Utrecht has Hoog Catharijne, which is one of the biggest indoor shopping centers in Holland. Hoog Catharijne houses more than 150 stores and it is connected to the central train station, making it easily accessible.
Address: Stationsplein 97, 3511 ED Utrecht, Netherlands
Website: Hoog Catharijne (in Dutch)
10. Museum hopping in Utrecht
Yes, Utrecht has plenty of interesting museums to go ‘museum hopping’. The Central Museum and the Railway Museum are just two of the best. There is also the Aboriginal Art Museum, the Speelklok Museum, where you get to see and hear traditional Dutch street organs and the Kruideniers Museum, where you can see and try old Dutch candy, such as licorice. Kids will certainly love the last one!
Address: Agnietenstraat 1, 3512 XA Utrecht, Netherlands
Website: Centraal Museum
Address: Maliebaanstation, 3581 XW Utrecht, The Netherlands
Website: Spoorweg Museum (in Dutch)
Utrecht awaits you
Just as beautiful but less touristy than Amsterdam, go explore the city of Utrecht before everyone else does!
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